News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Wall Street sign

1. UK – FinTech  


Digital bank OakNorth and alternative lender Ultimate Finance have closed a £20m ‘loan-on-loan' deal to help bolster the latter’s SME offering, according To AltFi.  

“The pot of cash will be used to support Ultimate Finance’s loan book and provide short-term funding as well as helping the alternative lender to deliver its government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loans.  

Founded in 2002, Ultimate Finance has over 2,500 companies on its books, with a specific focus on property, and, in the last four years alone, has helped to complete over £90m in bridging facilities.”  


2. UK – FinTech/SMEs 


Small– and medium-sized enterprise (SME) borrowers have been urged to apply for government-backed emergency loan schemes through Funding Circle, before the schemes end. P2P Finance News reports: 

“The peer-to-peer lending platform, which has received accreditation for both the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) and the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS), has called upon SMEs to act now to secure finance through the schemes before they end. 

Applications for CBILS, which delivers 80 per cent government guaranteed loans up to £250,000, is due to end on 30 September, although the British Business Bank has extended the deadline for lenders to consider and process applications received by this date, to 30 November. 

Meanwhile, the deadline for applications for the 100 per cent government backed BBLS which provides loans up to £50,000, is scheduled for 4 November. 

The government has not yet made any plans to extend either scheme. 

Furthermore, applications seem to be slowing down.” 


3. UK – FinTech 


UKTech News reports: 

“Tandem Bank has announced an exciting milestone for the business today and its aim of becoming the UK’s first green digital retail bank, as it acquires Allium Lending Group, a leading green lending business, as part of a £60million fundraising deal that was finalised last week. 

For the past six years, Allium has been helping customers transform their homes, to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, by financing everything from home insulation, energy efficient boilers and double glazing, to solar panels, heat pumps and home charging stations. 

To complement its existing suite of award winning products and services Tandem will introduce new green savings and green mortgage products, together with new innovative digital solutions, which will enable its customers to directly contribute to reducing their environmental impact and help to create a more sustainable planet.” 

4. UK - FinTech 

Nucleus Commercial Finance has digitised its underwriting process to provide automated underwriting decisions for SME loans up to £250k including lending through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). AltFi reports: 

“The firm, which has approved more than £100m for SMEs since the coronavirus outbreak, has made a substantial investment in its underwriting technology over the past year or so. Now, following a pilot, SMEs and brokers can see instant decisions on applications.  

Nucleus new system uses machine learning to make decisions in under a minute, significantly reducing the time spent reviewing finance applications.   

It has also fully integrated with Open Banking to improve the speed and accuracy of decision making for businesses, it says. 

New features include automated ID verification and automated AML/KYC, which significantly reduce the administrative burden on both SMEs and their broker partners.” 

5. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Standard Bank has acquired a 35% equity stake in digital escrow company TradeSafe Escrow, providing a means for buyers and sellers to mitigate transaction fraud. 

TradeSafe is an online escrow platform that safeguards the buyer’s funds in trust in a transaction involving two or more parties.

Established in 2013, TradeSafe is the longest running digital escrow company in South Africa. The firm was also the first digital escrow organisation in the world to offer an API gateway which allows for online marketplaces and stores to offer escrow payments to customers.”